Purpose for the Program
As the nursing profession continues to evolve, evidence-based practice is crucial for caring for ongoing needs of obstetric patients. Community hospitals often are challenged with limited educational resources, yet have a strong desire to deliver safe, quality care to the patients. In this project, two suburban community hospitals 7 miles apart, with common organizational structure, similar volumes and practices came together with a plan to bridge the resource gap for education regarding women and infants.
To form an interdisciplinary committee to bring two obstetric departments from two community hospitals together for nursing education and professional development.
Implementation, Outcomes, and Evaluation
A committee with members from both hospitals including nursing management, clinical education, nursing staff, diabetes management, and lactation specialists was formed to work on this project. They completed a learning needs assessment and prioritized learning opportunities for staff. They developed the tools, content, policies, and procedures using evidence-based research and included expert staff from the nursing departments in developing programs. Education topics included maternal complications, such as uterine rupture, postpartum hemorrhage, peripartum and postpartum cardiomyopathy, managing second stage labor, pharmacology, breastfeeding basics, 39-week-of-gestation inductions, water birth, and diabetes management. The educational offerings were implemented using evidence-based practice to provide the support and foundation for the classes. The committee members worked collaboratively on the projects, promoting cohesive bonds between the departments while breaking down cultural barriers between the hospitals. The members united to strengthen the knowledge and expertise of bedside caregivers to provide safe and effective care for patients. As a result of this collaborative approach to education, the knowledge base of the nursing staff has increased because of the expertise and additional educational offerings provided to them.
Implications for Nursing Practice
The shared education program has laid the foundation for the collaboration of nursing resources between the two hospitals. Recently, the hospitals began sharing staff within the nursing departments to meet the demands of staffing and patient acuity. Collaborative learning as one unit has provided the nursing staff with the foundation and knowledge to comfortably move between the two hospitals. With the support of leadership and education, the committee continues to plan for additional future educational offerings. The commitment to the patients is represented through the dedication of two community hospitals and two departments, which creates an environment that supports the art and science of nursing care for their patients.